The American Legion AA State Tournament is being held in Pratt this week at Smoky Ford Field. Seven teams from around the State are vying for the title in addition to the host Pratt 86ers.
In the feature game of the evening, host Pratt took on zone 1 representative Sabetha who came in sporting a 36-11 record. It soon became apparent how the Sabethas achieved those lofty numbers as they got past the 86ers by an 11-2 count.
Sabetha scored in every inning, doing the most damage in the 3rd when they put up a four-spot and the 4th when they put up a three-spot.
The 86ers were generous early on as they allowed Sabetha single tallies in the 1st and 2nd innings, mostly due to walks and defensive miscues. 86er overthrows and wild pitches contributed to the Sabetha effort.
In the 3rd, Pratt hurler Logan Bertholf found himself with a target on his back as Sabetha hit the ball hard, a couple of the shots rocketing back through the box and richocheting off Bertholf for base hits. 4 runs were plated in the 3rd by Sabetha to put them up 6-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd.
Pratt had their best AB in the 3rd, scoring their only 2 runs of the game. Mitchell Baird led off, reached on an error, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch. Joel Clark took a base on balls, moving up when Dakota Venard reached on an error and scoring on Jarod Gilmore’s sac fly.
Sabetha struck for 3 in the 4th and 2 more in the 5th to go up 11-2. The 86ers got a basehit from Chase Hageman but could not move him in the 4th. In the 5th, Jacob Kurz (who had replaced Easton Herring who left with an injury) led off reaching on a error, and advancing to 2nd on the overthrow. After a fly-out, Drake Evert walked but then the Sabetha infield turned a double play to close out the 86ers by an 11-2 run-rule score.
Graham Howard was the winning pitcher for Sabetha, giving up just 2 runs on 2 hits.
In earlier first round action, Concordia shut out Wellington 8-0; Iola throttled Hays TMP 11-1; and Ellis squeaked past Rock Creek 1-0. Elimination bracket games begin Thursday at 10 a.m. with Wellington and Hays TMP facing off. Following that game, Pratt will play Rock Creek. Concordia takes on Iola in the winners bracket at 6 p.m. with Ellis vs. Sabetha to follow.